The defense at the murder trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin rested its case shortly after Chauvin declined to testify on April 15.
“I will invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege today,” Chauvin replied when his defense lawyer Eric Nelson asked if he would like to testify in his own defense for the death of George Floyd last May.
The Fifth Amendment is part of the United States Constitution that protects an individual accused of a crime from being forced to incriminate themselves.
By invoking his right against self-incrimination, Chauvin, a white man, passed up the opportunity to explain to the court why he kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes during the arrest. However, he also avoided interrogation of his actions by the prosecution’s cross-examination.
After two weeks of prosecution and two days of defense, both sides are set to deliver their closing arguments on April 19, after which the racially diverse jury will begin deliberating the case.
“If I were you, I would plan for long and hope for short,” Judge Peter Cahill told the jury.
Chauvin is accused of second- and third-degree murder and manslaughter for the death of Floyd, which sparked months-long protests against police brutality and racial injustice across the U.S. and in other countries.
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